Joey Rosskopf has yet to confirm his team for 2017, but the 26-year-old American who is out of contract with BMC Racing at the end of the year put in a strong bid to stay on in the WorldTour with the overall victory in the Tour du Limousin today.
Rosskopf helped to drive the winning breakaway on the opening stage on Tuesday, and won the four-man sprint to the line with 17 seconds on the peloton - with the 10-second time bonus for the stage win, he was 27 seconds ahead of the majority of riders. Italian Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani CSF) began chipping away at Rosskopf's lead the next day, coming second in the bunch sprint and then winning stages 3 and 4 to earn a total of 26 seconds, but without any intermediate time bonuses to his name, Colbrelli was forced to settle for second place, a single second behind Rosskopf.
"I feel super good," Rosskopf said after the race. "I would have been really disappointed if I had lost the GC today but that didn't happen so I feel fantastic."
His BMC teammates allowed a breakaway to go clear to wipe out the intermediate time bonuses, then ensured it posed no threat to the overall. When the peloton came back together for the bunch sprint, all Rosskopf had to do was make sure to finish on the same time as Colbrelli.
"I was confident that it would come down to a sprint," Rosskopf said. "I was not super worried about second and third on GC as I knew I could mark them but the biggest threat was definitely Colbrelli. All he needed other than the win was for a one-second time gap to open up at the field sprint which could have easily happened but I gave it my all to stay up there and in the end I was able to win the race. It was definitely super close.
"There is not a better display of cycling as a team sport than what we did over the last three days defending the jersey. Cycling might look like an individual sport but it isn't. I mean, I won the race but I wouldn't have been able to do that without the support of such a strong team"
Rosskopf's cycling career began in his early teens but began to take off in 2013 when, riding for the Hincapie team, he won the Paris-Arras Tour, a stage in Tour de Beauce and was second overall Cascade Classic. In 2014 he won the Redlands Classic and impressed BMC enough in the Tour of Utah with a second place on the queen stage and the overall mountains classification to earn himself a two-year contract.
Rosskopf told Velonews that his negotiations for next year are still in the works.
"This win gives me a lot of confidence. I was already really happy with how I was riding going to Tour of Utah and I am really happy that I could keep that form going here and make the most of it."
Now there's the type of picture I've been looking for!! Proof that all I had to do was stare at red and black butts for the past 3 days. #Repost @bmcproteam with @repostapp ・・・ To quote @joeyrosskopf, the squad rode like 'machines' to defend the yellow jersey on @tourdulimousin Stage 4! #BMCRacingTeam2016 #TDL2016